Crisis Management Communication Plan DJ HCS 350 March 3, 2014 TT Crisis Management Communication Plan Being prepared for any potential emergency is necessary for health care organizations. Planning for a disaster is a topic that requires a great amount of information and research that can be relayed to a group of people for the purpose of maintaining safety and sustaining life. “Crisis is defined as an unexpected, sudden turn of events or set of circumstances requiring an immediate human response. People experience a crisis as overwhelming, traumatic, and personally intrusive.
It is an unexpected life event challenging a person’ s sense of self and his or her place in the world,” (Arnold & Bogg, 2011, p. 434). According to Mehrotra (2008), “Crisis management refers to activities that encompass the immediate response to a disaster, recovery efforts, mitigation, and preparedness efforts to reduce the impact of possible future crises. Such activities can span a few hours to several months. ” Ideally, the disaster plans will give concrete guidelines on what a person should do if faced with any encounter, but there can be failures in communications at any given moment.
For example, during the Hurricane Katrina Disaster in 2005, hospitals in the Louisiana area were affected. Initially, there must have been confusion and uncertainty. The power in hospitals went out meaning there were no phones, no computers, and no direct lines of communication for staff to use. The staff was forced to prioritize and treat those most in need of care because of limited resources. “Disaster intervention protocols focus on treating injury and acute illness, rather than chronic health conditions,” (Arnold & Bogg, 2011, p. 430).
The staff did not need to have a meeting for this to be initiated; the guidelines were in place prior to the crisis. There are a few ways to reduce stress during a crisis. Realizing that fear of a situation is the greatest influence of stress can help create clarity in any crisis. When clouded with fear, a person may not be able to think clearly. Another way is to have individuals work as a team. A person may become overwhelmed with the amount of job related pressure happening at one time. But a group effort will yield better results. Never losing confidence when working toward a goal is another good measure to take when reducing stress.
People can become insecure when they do not know what is going to happen. Referring to Hurricane Katrina, the hospital staff must have tried to help people with acute injuries and illnesses as best as they could with what little had. After a few days, resources must have been scarce. There must have been a fear of not knowing what was going to happen to them or their patients. To manage a situation like that, where people become insecure, is something you cannot train for. Having a strong leadership role is also necessary. Coming up with a list of possible disasters for a facility is a way to have a plan for imminent danger.
According to “Crisis Communication” from ready. gov, “An important component of the preparedness program is the crisis communications plan. A business must be able to respond promptly, accurately and confidently during an emergency in the hours and days that follow. Many different audiences must be reached with information specific to their interests and needs. The image of the business can be positively or negatively impacted by public perceptions of the handling of the incident,” (2012). The first way to resolve conflict is to have a plan on how to handle emergencies in a specific manner.
In case there is no communication, most people will follow protocol. Try to foresee possible emergency situations and develop strategies to avoid them. Another method is to create a Crisis Management team. Dividing responsibilities among appointed people can reduce the stress of a crisis. If members know their assignments, then communication breakdowns can still be handled. Also, having a written manual for all people to have on hand. It can spell out procedures for separate events or a general protocol for any disaster. All these methods can resolve communication challenges.
Last week in Chicago, there was a rare thunderstorm in the middle of February. Power outages were happening throughout the city. At my facility, on the same day, the power went out. We (nurses) were sitting at the nurse’s station giving report. There were no lights and it was still dark outside. Some of us pulled out phones to use a flash lights. After about two minutes, the generators provided some power for emergency lighting. At that moment, I rushed to the rooms with resident who are on continuous oxygen to make sure it was plugged into the red outlets for power. When I completed the rounds, I thought there had to be a better way.
We were never taught protocols or procedures for situation like this. Imagine if it were mores serious. What would we do? The other nurses had been there longer than I have and didn’t even bother to check for resident safety. Reference Arnold, E. , & Boggs, K. U. (2011). Interpersonal relationships: Professional communication skills for nurses (6th ed. ). St. Louis, MO: Elsevier/Saunders. Crisis Commnunication. (2012). Retrieved from http://www. ready. gov/business/implementation/crisis Mehrotra, S. , Znati, T. , & Thompson, C. W. (2008). Crisis management. IEEE Internet Computing, 12(1), 14-17. doi:http://dx. doi. org/10. 1109/MIC. 2008. 7